Hatchell Enshrined Into Naismith HOF
Release: 09/08/2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Sylvia Hatchell officially took her place alongside the greatest names in the sport of basketball when she was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon at Symphony Hall.

Hatchell joins Tar Heel men's coach Roy Williams in the Hall of Fame, marking Carolina as the only school in the nation to have both active basketball coaches in the most exclusive club in the sport.

The 2013 12-person class included: nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton, seven-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino, four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley, five-time NCAA FInal Four coach Guy Lewis, four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King, ABA star Roger Brown, basketball pioneer Dr. E.B. Henderson, Brazilian standout Oscar Schmidt and former NBA executive Russ Granik.

The room was also filled with a number of former great players, including Larry Bird, who probably had the loudest applause in the building, Clyde Drexler, George "The Iceman" Gervin, John Havlicek, Hakeem Olajuwon, Pat Riley, John Stockton, Dick Vitale, Bill Walton and Dominique Wilkins to name a few.

Here is a portion of Coach Hatchell's speech:

"The class was announced at the Men's Final Four this spring. When I wake up every morning I say to my self, 'am I really going into the Naismith Hall of Fame?' This is absolutely incredible. I may have Nancy (Lieberman) come over and pinch me to make sure this really is happening.

"I want to thank Nancy (Lieberman) and Hubie (Brown) for presenting me to the stage. I go way back with Nancy to 1979. I coached Nancy at the Hanes All-American Classic, and Hubie has been a mentor to me for years and years. I just love Hubie and he loves women's basketball. I want to thank both of them.

"I had to ask them at the last minute because my dear friend Pat Summitt was supposed to be my presenter but she wasn't able to travel here today. In fact, right now I know Pat is watching. So, if you would join me in just giving a great shout out to the great Pat Summitt.

A lengthy applause for Summitt followed. Hatchell continued...

"First of all I want to say a big thank you to the Hall of Fame committee. They have just been unbelievable. The staff has done a fantastic job and we have had such a good time. Also, to Nike for being a sponsor and for being a sponsor of mine for many years.

"It has been so much fun to spend time with this class and I'm so humbled and thankful to be here. Success is about relationships. People ask me all the time, 'how have you been able to do this for 39 years and 900 and some wins?'"

"Like I said, success is about relationships. There are three key things that I think have helped me be a winner and to be a coach all these years and win over 900 games. And those are my faith, my family and my friends.

"First of all, my faith is the most important thing in my life. I tell people all the time I'm way to blessed to be stressed. I hear a lot of Amens out there. Today I feel like the most blessed woman in the world.

"Faith gives me tremendous balance in my life, and I've always believed that givers gain because we don't come into this world with anything and were not going to leave with it. What we have while were here, we don't own it, its just ours to manage while were here. I challenge you to take what you have and give it away. Givers always gain.

"Number two is my family. I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful family. I have the greatest family in the world. I had two wonderful Christian parents and grand parents that are now deceased. They trained me to believe that I could do anything that I set my heart and mind to and that I had a vision and passion about.

"I have a lot of family members here. First of to my wonderful husband of 34 years Sammy. We met at a basketball clinic in Sumter, S.C. And Sammy has won a lot of championships on his own. He is currently the head coach at Shaw University in Raleigh where last year in 2012 he won the Division II women's national championship.

"And my son Van. He was born the day we played NC State and trust me my doctor still has the marks around the neck where I grabbed him when I was trying to deliver Van.

"Van, he graduated in 2011 from the University of North Carolina with honors and was a walk-on for coach Williams at Carolina. Without a doubt, Van you are the greatest accomplishment of my life and I love both of you very much.

"My sister and brothers are here and they're having such a wonderful time here, because they grew up watching all you guys play basketball. I have lots of other family members here as well. Thanks for all the support in making the trip.

"Third of all are friends. I'm so blessed to have so many wonderful friends. First off all of my basketball friends. I have a lot of friends at the beach, at the mountains, at the school. I told you I have a lot of balance in my life.

For more of Coach Hatchell's speech, please watch the video link above.

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